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I believe the reason why Dish is buying up Clearwire’s debt is to acquire Clearwire outright. The latest indication is that Dish intends to build a TDD-LTE network just like Clearwire and has specifically requested to FCC just on that.
[“Dish Network is waiting for FCC approval to use 40 MHz of satellite spectrum it holds in the 2 GHz AWS-4 band for a land-based LTE network. If Dish could get the unpaired 20 MHz of AWS-3 — well, that would be a bonus. A 40 MHz downlink could deliver over 300+ Mbps.”]
The keyword here is “unpaired” spectrum which can only be used for TDD-LTE. This means between the two companies (Clearwire / Dish) they will have a combined 200 Mhz. of unpaired spectrum that will surpass any carriers nationwide.
Further, the merger of Dish and Clearwire will provide nationwide coverage through Ecostar satellite based coverage in rural and fat-pipe for the urban. Also, both Dish and Clearwire have made a deal with Qualcomm for LTE-Advanced chipset that will provide handset devices for their combined networks including celestial and terrestrial coverage as a single point of access.
No wonder Sprint is getting very nervous and abruptly raised $1.5B and to show Sprint is willing to protect its turf, if necessary. Another potential player that may go after Clearwire is Sol Trujillo if his T-Mobile's attempt fails.
Many assumptions and no links or corroborating information:
Ergen has said that DISH needs to partner with a mobile operator. What he has said about Clearwire is that DISH has talked with the company and has considered wholesale access. Where is your new information that informs the board that the thinking has changed or how could Clearwire fulfill the role of a mobile operator, which, btw, they are not.
Hyping the stock might nab a few people to buy the stock.. which might move it on a given day by a few pennies for a short while until its absorbed in the broader flux of trading... iow.. meaningless.
DISH is most likely to partner with a mobile operator for deployments because that would give them more expertise in devices and a way to leverage into the mobile market. The situation is shifting as Clearwire becomes active in 'World Phone' device developments. However, Clearwire has no mobile subscribers of their own.. those are 'owned' by Sprint under their 3G+WiMAX sub contracts. Clearwire is a cash impoverished operator that would need a large cash infusion to take on a partnership. While DISH could invest in CW, they need their capital if they are to mount an offensive to build out a nationwide LTE network, sapwn competitive devices, and market the new service against already entrenched market. The US market is saturated with mobile phones and most of the way to being saturated with SmartPhones and pads/Phablets. Just as it has been for Clearwire, carving out mobile BB marketshare will be an uphill battle for DISH or DTV beyond a small percentage of conversions of their existing satellite subscriber base that might easily be lured away with packaged deals. Clearlywired offers no similar subsidizer base - the 1.3 million is smaller than LEAP, metroPCS and leading MVNOs.. there aint no laundry in that basket outside of a few underwear with holes in it.
Hype, hype, hype.. repeat the hype enough times and some people will come to believe it. Clearwire is not a mobile operator. They are confined by their finances, lack of technological prowess to innovate internally, and the lure of the low hanging fruit of metro hot zone overlay for other operators to play a significant direct role in filling DISH or DTV's needs. 'Anything is possible' but investors have to work with what is at least not so wild of fantasy that it does not happen 9 out of ten times. It could happen, however, until Ergen/DISH starts making statements that indicate a change from his previous stance that they need a mobile partner with Clearwire being a possible metro zone gap filler, its best to place odds on that not on a narrow odds hype without any explanation of how that would deliver desired results. DISH does not have to partner with Clearwire to use their network.. that can happen and hopefully will happen.. another wholesale customer that can help the company financially, but not for free.
TR, I've thought all along that Dish would probably partner with Sprint "with Clearwire being a possible metro zone gap filler". But with Sprint already having their hands full, and Dish perhaps wanting to do it their own way, it has occured to me that "another option would be using Clearwire's network in metro areas and using their expertise to help Dish build out a network for coverage elsewhere." Thru the use of satellite it would give them pretty good coverage and capacity if a phone could seemlessly switch between the two. Do you see that as reasonable possibility?
Just as many have overlooked the value of unlimited plans being offered by Sprint in capturing new customers from the Big 2, I think you may be making the same mistake when you say " Just as it has been for Clearwire, carving out mobile BB marketshare will be an uphill battle for DISH or DTV beyond a small percentage of conversions of their existing satellite subscriber base that might easily be lured away with packaged deals"
I think many would like to have one billing point for all family connections, particularly where I can access entertainment programs a la carte and have unlimited tele/data service. The efficiency of such an offering would cause me to change existing services and if I were already a DISH customer, it would be a no brainer. I would guess more than a few of DISHs’ millions of customers would be willing to do the same, and that’s more than a small percentage they would/could carve out. I don’t suggest this would be easy, simply that it's a competitive offering which is more than what is offered by anyone else and can change the competitive landscape.
I think you're right here. Clearwire can't really satisfy the need for coverage in rural areas. At the same time I don't think Dish would parter with Verizon or ATT, so as far as mobile operators are concerned there aren't many other viable options. Mainly I would think either T-Mobile, PCS, or Sprint. If they were to partner with Sprint, Clearwire would benefit.
Another option would be using Clearwire's network in metro areas and using their expertise to help Dish build out a network for coverage elsewhere.
Nobody really knows what Dish is doing other than they want in the mobile business. There aren't many ways this can go poorly for Clearwire, but there are plenty of good results that could happen.